Thursday, November 28, 2013


Thanksgiving Day Prayer

Lord, there is much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving Day.
But most of all, may we be thankful for serendipity, family and friends.
Serendipity, the good fortune to discover life’s blessings,
And with family and friends enjoy them.

The origin of serendipity. A letter from Horace Walpole to Thomas Mann,  28 January 1754.

This discovery I made by a talisman, which Mr. Chute calls the sortes Wal-polianae, by which I find everything I want, a pointe nommee [at the very moment], wherever I dip for it. This discovery, indeed, is almost of that kind which I call Serendipity, a very expressive word, which, as I have nothin better to tell you, I shall endeavour to explain to you: you will understand it better by the derivation than by the definition. I once read a silly fairy tale, called the three Princes of Serendip: as their Highnesses travelled, they were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of: for instance, one of them discovered that a mule blind of the right eye had travelled the same road lately, because the grass was eaten only on the left side, where it was worse than on the right — now do you understand Serendipity?
One of the most remarkable instances of this accidental sagacity (for you must observe that no discovery of a thing you are looking for comes under this description) was of my Lord Shaftsbury, who happening to dine at Lord Chancellor Clarendon's, found out the marriage of the Duke of York and Mrs. Hyde, by the respect with which her mother treated her at table.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Clasped Hands on headstone in a cemetery

Clasped Hands on a cemetery headstone can have several meanings. Most often, it represents an enduring marriage, especially if two graves are near the monument.

Matfield Green cemetery
On a trip up Highway 177 from El Dorado to Strong City, I stopped at Matfield Green, the population of which is 119 (year, 2010). Just to the south of town is the Matfield cemetery. These headstones caught my eye.

John and Mary Lansbeurg are, most likely, husband and wife. John died November 28, 1873, at the age of 77 years, 11 months, and 8 days. The Grand Army of the Republic star can be seen to the left in the photo, marking the grave of a Union veteran of the Civil War.

John was born in 1796. In 1861, the first year of the Civil War, he would have been 65 years old.

A search of the Roster of the Grand Army of the Republic did not reveal the name, John Lansbeurg.  The name should not appear here as this roster is as of the year 1894, 21 years after John's death. Kansas Skyways' list of Kansas Veterans for Chase County does not include John Lansburg, but does include John Bansbury in the Matfield Green cemetery. (possibly a misspelling?)

John Lansbeurg
Mary Lansbury is buried next to John. She was born May 13, 1898 (sic, 1798). She died February 11, 1885. Mary was two years younger than her husband John. After searching the United States for the surname "Lansbeurg", I came up with only a single match. "Lansbury" is more popular as a surname.

Mary Lansbury
Chase County Probate Department includes a will filed by John Lansbury in 1873, naming a wife Mary K. Lansbury and five children.

The answer to John Lansbury's Civil War service and to his name change may exist in the Chase County Historical Sketches, Landsbury John, pages 150,151,354. vol. II.

Matfield Cemetery, Matfield Green